Love it or loathe it, search engine optimisation has become the mainstay of digital marketing. How many hours have you dedicated to filtering through long lists of keywords? Fine-tuning your terminology? And agonising over what terms you think clients are searching for, compared to what you give them? It’s not a particularly healthy obsession.
But on the plus side, all those years of decoding keywords and search terms has an unexpected benefit, beyond sending prospective clients to your website.
It’s called Google Trends, and it’s the result of many years’ worth of archived searches by consumers all over the world, for every product, service, celebrity, place, gadget, idea, and trinket ever imagined. Just think of the sheer volume of that data. It’s inconceivable; and a small portion of it belongs to the flexible workspace industry.
Take a look at the graph below. It’s a comparison of searches conducted in North America for ‘serviced office’ (blue), ‘executive office suites’ (red) and ‘coworking’ (yellow). The data ranges from January 2004 – May 2016:
The pattern of searches over time is startling. You’ll see how the popularity of ‘executive office suites’ has gradually waned over time, while ‘coworking’ began its meteoric rise shortly after 2007. In the US, the term ‘serviced offices’ is barely noticeable.
Switch to the UK and you’ll see that ‘serviced office’ and ‘executive office suites’ have changed fortunes, with ‘executive office suites’ virtually non-existant. Coworking has also achieved a gradual rise, although it’s much less marked than that of the US:
Bear in mind that these patterns are only a sample of the full data. It works by analysing a portion of searches to establish how many have been carried out, relative to the total number of Google searches carried out over the same time. It’s not the full picture – but the sketch we’re given is a pretty fascinating one.
By narrowing down the date and place of each search, and by comparing up to five terms at the same time, you can build a pretty insightful account of when and where specific industry terms are being searched. This tells you a lot about the terminology clients are using to search for your workspace, and whether your chosen keywords are hitting the right buttons.
You can also see when interest for flexible workspace is at its strongest. For instance, in the UK and US, interest peaks at the start of the year and often towards the end of each month. It also drops off sharply in December, just in time for Christmas.
While Google Trends should in no way be your only SEO marketing tool, it can help fill in the blanks and add a valuable dimension to keyword planning by helping you to better understand the peak times of interest for your space – not to mention the most popular terms used.
Check out this detailed guide by SearchEngineWatch for more information on how to use Google Trends.